On Coming into Possession of Oneself: Transformations of the Interpersonal Field

Author(s) : Donnel B. Stern

Part of Psychoanalysis in a New Key series - more in this series

On Coming into Possession of Oneself: Transformations of the Interpersonal Field

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : September 2024
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 416
  • Category :
    Forthcoming
  • Category 2 :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 97785
  • ISBN 13 : 9781032688879
  • ISBN 10 : 1032688874
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This book is Donnel B. Stern's latest contribution to the kind of understanding of psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic process offered by field theory.

Stern anchors his understanding of therapeutic action in the freedom of both patient and analyst to create meaningful experience with a minimum of inhibition. The field's capacity to generate meaning—and thus full realised human living—grows from its freedom to respond spontaneously to the feelings, wants and needs of its participants. To whatever extent this spontaneity is diminished, we can be sure that some part of the field is frozen or otherwise rigidified. This position serves as the foundation of the psychoanalysis that Stern practices. The analyst aims to feel their way into compromises in the field, and then do whatever they can to grasp and dissolve them, knowing that they will have to be visited repeatedly and dissolved again. These insights into interpersonal and relational field theory lead to descriptions of clinical interventions that are focused on the moment-to-moment emotional experience of both the patient and the analyst.

With valuable contributions to theory and emotionally immediate clinical vignettes, this book is essential for all psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists wishing to understand how the analyst's interventions grow from the analyst's emotional involvement in the clinical process.

Reviews and Endorsements

With incisive sensitivity and elegance of expression, Donnel B. Stern brilliantly defines, integrates and deepens our understanding of a cohesive relationalist view of what it means to be a person, a person in essence ever a part of the fabric of human connectedness. His clinical illustrations are alive, his insightful consideration of the implications of those analytic experiences richly extending as well as integrating our theories. This valuable work is engaging to read as well as rich in its contributions.
Warren Poland, author of Intimacy and Separateness in Psychoanalysis

Donnel B. Stern is one of our most penetrating thinkers on the subject of field theory. He gently reminds us that emotional connections are operating in ways that are outside of our awareness. The moment-to-moment experience carries with it an opening into areas that have long been dormant. In this extraordinary contribution into the unseen and the unheard, Stern activates the inner world of the "other" and the "self". It is a major contribution that is a must-read.
Glen O. Gabbard, MD, clinical professor Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine

With equal measures of brilliance, intellectual rigor, and generosity, this book reminds us why and how psychoanalysis is magical. In a series of expansive gestures, Donnel B. Stern stages encounters with ideas that, while seemingly familiar, reveal themselves to be fresh with possibility: otherness, in these pages, aligns with psychic freedom, and Stern persuasively shows that witnessing and recognition remain critical ingredients of the psychoanalytic endeavor. This book renews the promise of psychoanalysis, which is to ask more of us, always.
Avgi Saketopoulou, psychoanalyst in private practice, and faculty of New York University's postdocotral program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Transformations of the Interpersonal Field

Part One: The Formulation of Experience in the Clinical Situation
2. On Coming into Possession of Oneself: Witnessing and the Formulation of Experience
3. Distance and Relation: Emerging from Embeddedness in the Other
4. Interpretation: Voice of the Field
5. Feels Like Me: Formulating the Embodied Mind
6. How Does History Become Accessible? Reconstruction as an Emergent Product of the Interpersonal Field
7. How I Work with Unconscious Process - Part 1: A Case Example
8. How I Work with Unconscious Process - Part 2: The Emergence of Meaning from Unformulated Experience

Part Two: Dissociation
9. Dissociation and Unformulated Experience: A Psychoanalytic Model of Mind
10. Unformulated Experience, Dissociation, and Nachträglichkeit
11. Dissociative Multiplicity and Unformulated Experience: Commentary on Diamond
12. Dissociative Enactment and Interpellation
13. From Interpersonal Field to Mind in the Work of Philip M. Bromberg

Part Three: Comparative Studies
14. Field Theory and the Dream Sense: Continuing the Comparison of Interpersonal/Relational Theory and Bionian Field Theory
15. Otherness within Psychoanalysis: On Recognizing the Critics of Relational Psychoanalysis
16. Can There be a Psychoanalysis Without Unconscious Phantasy? Unformulated Experience and the Multiple Self

About the Author(s)

Donnel Stern, Ph.D., is Training and Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute, and Faculty, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He is on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Inquiry and Psychoanalytic Psychology, and is the former editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

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